Background: In selected patients with NSCLC the therapeutic index of radical radiotherapy can be improved with gating/tracking technology. Both techniques require real-time information on target location. This is often derived from a surrogate ventilatory signal. We assessed the correlation of two novel surrogate ventilatory signals with a spirometer-derived signal. The novel signals were obtained using the VisionRT stereoscopic camera system. The VisionRT-Tracked-Point (VRT-TP) signal was derived from tracking a point located midway between the umbilicus and xiphisternum. The VisionRT-Surface-Derived-Volume (VRT-SDV) signal was derived from 3D body surface imaging of the torso. Both have potential advantages over the current surrogate signals.
Methods: Eleven subjects with NSCLC were recruited. Each was positioned as for radiotherapy treatment, and then instructed to breathe in five different modes: normal, abdominal, thoracic, deep and shallow breathing. Synchronous ventilatory signals were recorded for later analysis. The signals were analysed for correlation across all modes of breathing, and phase shifts. The VRT-SDV was also assessed for its ability to determine the mode of breathing.
Results: Both novel respiratory signals showed good correlation (r>0.80) with spirometry in 9 of 11 subjects. For all subjects the correlation with spirometry was better for the VRT-SDV signal than for the VRT-TP signal. Only one subject displayed a phase shift between the VisionRT-derived signals and spirometry. The VRT-SDV signal could also differentiate between different modes of breathing. Unlike the spirometer-derived signal, neither VisionRT-derived signal was subject to drift.
Conclusion: Both the VRT-TP and VRT-SDV signals have potential applications in ventilatory-gated and tracked radiotherapy. They can also be used as a signal for sorting 4DCT images, and to drive 4DCT single- and multiple-parameter motion models.